Stones River Cedar Glade and Barrens Class II Natural-Scientific State Natural Area

Stones River0003

The Stones River Cedar Glade and Barrens is a 185-acre natural area within Stones River National Battlefield in Rutherford County. It is located in the Central Basin of Middle Tennessee in Murfreesboro. Stones River National Battlefield was an important Civil War battlefield and a Union Army earthworks fortification. In the course of protecting this area for its historical importance, the National Park Service has also recognized the importance of the unique cedar glade ecosystem found here. It is an important site for the recovery of the federally endangered plant species Pyne's ground plum (Astragalus bibullatus), and Tennessee purple coneflower (Echinacea tennesseensis), which was delisted as a federally endangered species in September 2011. The Tennessee coneflower is especially robust with two colonies totaling more than 2,500 plants. The Pyne's ground plum was introduced in the winter of 2001 from seeds grown at the Missouri Botanical Garden collected from Rutherford County populations. The introduction of endangered species into suitable habitat from nearby populations is a recovery strategy to aid in the long-term sustainability of these imperiled species.

The majority of Stones River State Natural area is an open expanse of limestone outcropping and very shallow soils. Glade endemic species that occur here include limestone fame-flower (Talinum calcaricum), glade-crest (Leavenworthia exigua), evolvulus (Evolvulus nuttallianus), Eggleston's violet (Viola egglestonii), and Nashville mustard (Leavenworthia stylosa). There is a small barrens area where soils deepen and support more perennial species including the grasses little bluestem, split bluestem, and side oats grama.

The National Park Service at Stones River provides exemplary resource management techniques in protecting the cedar glades and their cultural resources. This includes aggressive invasive plant management and also the use of native grasses and local genotypes in managing and preserving the historical earthwork structures outside the natural area.

Site Management

National Park Service, Stones River National Battlefield, 3501 Old Nashville Highway, Murfreesboro, TN 37129, phone (615) 893-9501. Division of Natural Areas, William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, 2nd Floor, Nashville, TN 37243 phone (615) 532-0431.

Public Access

Open to the Public - Full Access
The National Park Service operates a visitor center and provides trails and interpretive exhibits in the battlefield and natural area including boardwalks that traverse the earthworks.

Parking: Yes
Trail: Yes
Dogs on Leash: Yes
Hunting: No
Fishing: No
Camping: No


Stones River State Natural Area is located near the Stones River National Battlefield visitor center on Old Nashville Pike approximately three miles northwest of Murfreesboro.

Details & Map

  • Map to Stones River Cedar Glade
  • Owned by the National Park Service
  • Walterhill 7.5-minute quadrangle
  • Central Basin Physiographic Province
  • Designated in 2003